Parsha Pekudei: Finding G-d in the Details

| parsha reflection |

The name of this week’s Torah portion, Pekudei, means “accounts,” and refers to the listing of the materials used to build the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary in which G-d will dwell while the Israelites are in the wilderness. This week’s Torah portion is the last in the book of Exodus, and in it, the Tabernacle is completed. Chapters 25 through 40 of the book of Exodus are devoted to the instructions for and the construction of the Tabernacle. The Torah, while its text is usually terse and spare, repeats the details of how the Tabernacle is built—first in instructions to Moses, then in instructions from Moses to the people, then in the description of the actual building of the Tabernacle, and finally, in our Torah portion, in the accounting of the materials used and the final details of the building of the structure. It seems that the details here are very important—they have to be right in order for G-d to occupy the Tabernacle, and at the end of this portion, G-d does. The Israelites get the details right.

We live in a fast-paced world, especially here in New York City. So many of the pressures on us are to hurry, to fudge the details and just get it done. This applies to everything from meals eaten standing up or in transit, to work, where “good enough” is often the rule. Just meet the deadline, just get it done.

In the Torah, there is no deadline for finishing the Tabernacle. It’s not about getting it done; it’s about doing it right, down to the smallest detail. And when that is done successfully, G-d is present.

G-d can be a word with a lot of baggage, and is sometimes a difficult concept. G-d might mean the G-d of the Torah, or maybe a sense of completion and rightness, or perhaps gratitude for the skill and ability to achieve a desired outcome in a complicated task.

My kavannah, or intention, for this week is to consider the details of our lives. What has required our full attention to detail to be completed successfully? What does this completion offer us? When in the coming days are the times when we want to be truly present for the details, taking the time to really pay attention to them, rather than just getting it done?

May we be present to the details of our lives that need our attention, and may we find holiness in the completion of the detailed tasks for which we are needed.